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I'd use small shops but they're always closed when I'm available to do my shopping.

Think about it: traditionally opening 9-to-5 weekdays means that most of a shop's potential high-disposable-income customers will be working and so not be around to buy things.

Some places [like my local post-office] even close midday on Saturdays - which is 101% crazy.

To stay alive, small shops need to move away from 1950s-era ideas of service (who these days would put up with a shop having 'early-closing day'?) and work to pull in the big spenders. Open 6-10AM and 4-9PM to catch people on their way to/from work!

Id use small shops but im a man and therefore like most men hate shopping. Tescos/Asda superstores suit me as it means more or less easily parking and getting most things from a single store, and allows me to get back to doing something that isnt shopping as quickly as possible. I would hate to think politicians around my way are meddling around in what shops are able to open and which arent.

My own experience from living in a semi-rural village is that the small high street shops were eliminated once two small supermarkets began to trade in the area. This in turn lead to social life in the local precinct disappearing as one-stop shopping replaced the hub of community life. The precinct, which was previously maintained by the numerous small traders, became neglected and run down. Now no-one is likely to invest because they would be unable to compete with the two supermarkets. A network of small traders is crucial to the concept of community life.

Yeah, local-government owned, or subvented local 'shops' - that's really what we need. Can I suggest, as a symbol, for this bold new form of politics, we should adopt something that shows how we're all in this together? Like a bundle of tied sticks maybe? Birch would be a good choice. And we should probably tie an axe in with the sticks, to show how we're going to 'cut through' all the red tape and evil Euro-Brownite-Tescoist regulation that stops uneconomic businesses from, uh, thriving. What an awful pity we didn't adopt this vastly sensible strategy - politicans using, directly or indirectly, public monies and regulatory regimes to sustain businesses free and voluntary demand won't - earlier. Think of all those brasiers and curriers and girdlers and loriners and skinners and tallowchandlers our local streets could still be decorated with!

Having shopping delivered is the way forward. Not only does it enormously save time and effort, it's also better for the environment in all kinds of ways. Perhaps we won't see any more ugly sheds being built if we all start buying from proper local companies online. That is how small businesses can find their niche. Physical shops can offer online branches with a local, personal touch.

The days of parking, pushing trollies round the aisles, giving up half your weekend and paying over the odds to an army of middlemen are over.

Um, so we should protect the little local shop that is never open and charges too much over the big supermarket that employs hundreds of local people and delivers to our door at a time conventient for us, because...?

Surely the said could be argued for political parties? Will Cameron support measures to protect smaller political parties? Oh no, he proposed the exact opposite, didn't he? Funny that.

If people care about their their communities, perhaps they should be supporting local, independent candidates for MP.

Well said asquith and Chad! This report is pure Luddism. It is easier and cheaper to order and buy online and have your purchases delivered. Long live Ocado, Majestic, Amazon, Apple and the free enterprise innovators. We must protect them from the dead hand of self-serving and quisling politicians who are living in the past.

Would the last Thatcherite to leave the Party please turn the low energy light bulb off on your way out?

Not everything is measured in the cheapest goods. There is such a thing as quality of life and living in a thriving socially interactive community. The death of the small high street retailer also means the death of community life. The very same people who advocate unfettered international trade also want to see trade in Britain monopolized by a few multinational retail giants. David Cameron shoes great vision on this issue, which ties-in with his support for community life as a bulwark against social breakdown.

I would agree with that Tony.Many European countries have kept their small shops and their towns and villages are so much better for it. In many rural and even semi rural areas of Britain there are simply no shops at all. The result? You need a car or you're stuffed.David Cameron is 100% right.

"There is such a thing as quality of life "

Indeed. Like having more time to spend with your kids because Tesco just dropped your shopping at the kitchen door.

Answer me this Tony, if small is good for shops, why not for politics too? Why much politics be dominated by a few 'giants'?

In many rural and even semi rural areas of Britain there are simply no shops at all. The result? You need a car or you're stuffed.David Cameron is 100% right"

Um, 100% wrong, I'm afraid Mad Malc. When I lived in rural Suffolk, Tesco delivered right into my kitchen and by having one truck cover deliveries for many houses, they saved the environment too.

Chad Noble, I'm all for more democracy and would like to see regular plebicites on single-issue matters. I think the political process would be a lot more interesting if we had two more large parties, one to the left of Labour and one to the right of the Conservative party. These are two catchment areas where a political party doesn't cater for a good 20% of the population. However I wouldn't like to see us under a PR system because having lived under PR in two different countries I can assure you that it doesn't lead to steady government.


Back to the subject though (and the real world) - do you think most parents would prefer to spend Saturday playing in the garden with the kids (because Tesco brought the groceries to their door) or dragging them from small shop to small shop, spending a large chunk of the day, stressed, in queues, and having less money as a result of the higher prices?

Chad Noble, I think women tend to enjoy shopping with the little ones, especially if they have to have clothing or shoes. I can certainly see there are advantages to having goods delivered. I'm afraid the only thing I ever have delivered are old Hollywood musicals bought on E-bay or Amazon and sent over from the states. Definitely items that we need to be importing because most of these movies are only available on NTSC video and have never been released in the UK. I've been collecting these old musicals since 1988 and literally have hundreds. I have to share your dislike of queues, but I'm sure the queues would be much smaller in smaller shops? Ultimately the consumer will make the choice about the type of shopping experience he/she wants, but to make a choice they have to have a choice. No choice can exist when supermarkets totally monopolize trade in small towns and villages.

"I think women tend to enjoy shopping with the little ones, especially if they have to have clothing or shoes"

I do find that quite unlikely. And even if the women do, the "little ones" certainly have a different view on the matter. I'm 23, and until about 7 years ago I used to get dragged around shops. I couldn't bear it. My lifelong hatred of shopping made me take out online accounts (all at independent retailers, many of them very local) and I really haven't looked back.

I know of bricks-and-mortar shops that have been keeping themselves going by mail orders of various kinds for years. The internet is just the same, an opportunity for them if they can take it.

Think of the benefits to the environment that can be gained by having produce stored in warehouses and distributed to consumers, rather than retailed through supermarkets etc which take up loads of space (and energy in heat/light etc) and involve infinity's worth of driving around in cars. People have little enough time as it is without any more clowning around.

"I think women tend to enjoy shopping with the little ones,"

Sexist b******d! What planet are you on? Shopping with little ones is a farking nightmare for mum or dad.

"Sexist b******d! What planet are you on?"

I'm curious, would you have said that if we were face-to-face? If so, I would have to question your maturity, if not, then why say it here?

Yes Tony, I mentioned your comment to my wife and she just said "pig" and I am sure most mothers would agree.

Do you have kids Tony?

Small shops need a level playing field with our large superstores, they need more supportive wholesalers (maybe a couple of new players) who can take the supermarket giants on at their own game.

Aldi or Lidl perhaps could wholesale to a small shops network to promote their products, many small shop owners are fantastic at trying the products they sell and recommending them to others that's the beauty of good personal service.

I suggest small business needs the same training allowances and apprentice funding that large businesses get thrown at them in proportion of course, they need courses run not by their large competitor (because that just leads to best staff poaching) but by independent providers.

Small businesses need parking schemes whereby if the people parking in a small town spend x in multiple stores that day they can get their parking fee back by a free coffee or tea in the local cafe's paid for by an organised fund from all the retailers.

Small retail businesses need toilet facilities a crucial weakness in small town centre planning/management. Someone needs to look at how much per sq m small shops contribute in rates compared to their large competitors and ensure it is fair.

And finally small business people need to work together to find their own solutions as handouts and handups are only ever short term solutions.

"Do you have kids Tony?"

Chad Noble, yes but grown up now. Nontheless I would never consider a child to be an inconvenience when shopping. The problem is these days parents try to avoid involving their kids in everyday life and just want them 'out of the way' stuck in front of the PC or TV. I can't be the only person who has noticed that in many families the children and the parents live separate lives. No wonder we have social breakdown. Chad, you still haven't explained why you felt the need to call me a "Sexist b******d"? Is such immature language necessary in a mature political forum like this?

The editor should impose a no bad language policy because people come to ConHome in good faith to support the website and support the Conservative party and such foul-mouthed insults are going to put people off coming here. After a recent article that I wrote for ConHome I received 28 threatening e-mails from people claiming to support the 'Devil's Kitchen' website, these e-mails were littered with bad language and even threats to inflict violence on me. Having spend most of my life working in security the threats of violence brought a wry smile to my face, but when reading some of the abusive language I began to wonder how on earth these people could claim to be supporters of a fine organization like the Conservative party?


LoL. It's because,as Tim Worstall pointed out, you write such rubbish that you get such abuse.

Give me one link, just one single piece of evidence to support your view that women "tend to enjoy shopping with the little ones" (considering that we are discussing grocery shopping here - lots of small shops versus Tesco delivering so having quality time with kids) and I will happily eat humble pie and apologise.

I've seen lots of comments on the net stating that your loony tunes views are putting them off the Tory Party, but I have yet to see one that states that heated debate on conhome has done the same...

Anyway, end of replies from me- as this has stopped being constructive. :-)

Chad Noble, if you think that its acceptable to send e-mails to me threatening violence, including a threat to cut my throat, because of an article I wrote on ConHome, then I wonder what sort of a person you are?

It is unfortunate that such nasty and cowardly people hide behind their blogs and fake e-mail addresses, still who knows I might come across these people one day at a Conservative party function and if so you can be certain that I am going to ask them to explain their behaviour to me face-to-face.

"I have yet to see one that states that heated debate on conhome has done the same"

Fascinatingly enough, Chad Noble, this site did play a large role in putting me (a fairly centrist liberal who is certainly a possible Conservative voter) off the Tory Party. It was mainly the views expressed on the environment that did it.

Asquith, don't let a few vindictive hotheads put you off voting Conservative. David Cameron and his team have put together a set of policies that can unite our country, whatever our political leanings. It is sad that certain people bring a poisonous air to this website at times, because as you correctly say, it does put some people off. However let me make an appeal to you to vote Conservative, make that switch, make that difference.

No, I do consider that the Lib Dems are a better fit for me. But I do think it's in the centre that the battle will be won or lost. Maybe you'll get someone else :)

As a woman, with 'little ones', I support Tony Makara (and David Cameron) on this one. Local shops are a vital community resource, not only for older people. Shopping with children doesn't have to be a battleground you know. And I think we should remember that not everyone owns a car or a computer.

"Shopping with children doesn't have to be a battleground you know."

I detect a smug mother of girls!

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